Could you share your testimony?
Sure! I come from a home of unbelievers. However, the Evangelical Lutheran church is the national church in Finland and most people get baptized as babies and go through confirmation – even though they or their parents are not believers. So did I. So I learned something about God through my childhood and teenage years; but I did not believe.
The background to all of this story is that I had a very difficult childhood. Now, my parents are good people and they raised their children well. But I never felt like my mother loved me. The year I turned 5, my sister was born and we soon found that she was allergic to most things. Keeping her healthy and well fed took a lot of effort. Later that year, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. For my parents who are doctors, this was something very difficult to accept (because doctors’ kids are supposed to be healthy). Then my mother started suffering from postpartum depression and things were hard for our family.
All in all, I soon started to feel like I was more of a burden to my family. As the middle child, it was hard to get my parents’ attention. So I put standards on myself, tried to be the good child because that’s how I would get noticed: when I did things well or got good grades at school. The standards I set for myself, however, were ones no human being could actually reach. At the age of 13, I fell into depression. I started harming myself. It kept getting worse and worse until I tried to commit suicide. I was put into a psychiatric ward for 6 months because I was considered too dangerous for myself.
Through all those years, I felt like I failed people. Like I wasn’t good enough for people to love me. After I got home from the psychiatric ward, I had kind of lost hope of having people in my life who would love me. But I still kept searching for love, like I believe most of us humans do.
My brother came to Christ five or six years before me. He would share the Gospel with me every now and then; but I never listened. Until one fall, I started thinking that I should read the Bible. I have always loved reading and the Bible is the most read book in the world – so I thought I should read it. I started reading from Genesis and kept going, even though I didn’t understand much of what I was reading. But I kept going. There were some events in those fall months, where I remember thinking that there must exist a greater power, a god of sorts – but I still didn’t believe in God. That Christmas, my brother shared out of Isaiah 53. He told us what Jesus has done for us; and this was when I realized that God was real. But I wasn’t ready to give my life to Christ yet.
For a month, I kept thinking about it. Until towards the end of January 2010, I felt God call me to Him. It was a physical feeling, one that I have never felt since. I knew it was God, and I knew it was Him calling me to surrender my life to Him. I said no for a few days, then I said maybe, and after a week I was ready to give my life to God. That evening, I went to my brother and told him I believe God has called me to give my life to Him and to believe in Him. The next day, we went to church together and I have kept going ever since.
For me, though, one of the greatest blessing was the unconditional love I was able to find in God but also in my church. Finally, these people accepted me as I was and loved me, truly loved me. That is one of the things I am so very grateful for even now. :)